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Full text of "The History Of Western Education"

THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURY              287

notable passage, " is too noble a being to be obliged to serve
simply as an instrument for others, and should not be employed
at what he is fit for, without also taking into account what is fit
for him ; for men are not made for their stations, but their stations
for men." * This is the first enunciation of the idea more generally
and more positively stated in the Kantian maxim : " Act so as to
use humanity whether in your own person or in the person of
another, always as an end, never as a means," and as such it marks
the beginning of a new epoch in social history.

It scarcely needs to be said that Rousseau had no monopoly of
the reforming spirit. Even the most negative of critics had some
notions of their own about the kind of society they wanted to see
in the place of the one they condemned, and had something to
contribute to the discussion of the means of social betterment.
More particularly in a subject like education, which all who had
any desire for reform recognized to be of fundamental importance,
there was a considerable variety of opinions and plans. In point
of fact, two opposing tendencies began to appear in speculation
about educational reconstruction, corresponding broadly to the
difference in point of view of Rousseau and the Encyclopedists.
In both cases, the philosophical starting-point was a view of the
nature of mind derived from Locke. In the Essay on Human
Understanding, Locke had traced back knowledge to two sources:
to the materials received passively through the senses, and to the
mind's own activity in working up these materials through the
several operations summarily described by him as " reflection."
Simple as it appears, this distinction of a passive and an active
element in mind had great scope in it for differences in inter-
pretation, as soon became evident in the various schools of philo-
sophy which called Locke master. Some emphasized the passivity
of mind in relation to experience and deduced a materialistic view
from its absolute dependence on the senses for all it knows.
Others, again, saved themselves from materialism by putting the
emphasis on mental activity and giving the mind a value it could
not have if it were mainly receptive. It was along these paths that
the thinkers of the Enlightenment who concerned themselves
about education also diverged. Those among them who took the
sensationalist view that the mind is determined by what it gets
from the senses held that the individual man is largely, if not
* New Heloiiet v, 2.